Coming out of the bye, the Detroit Lions can’t afford to show any signs of rust against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night. The stakes are too high, the opponent too tough and the doubters a little too close to this team right now.
As always, it will be a team effort to take down a 4-1 team with two wins in the division already, but these five players will be absolutely essential if Detroit wants to pull off a Monday night upset.
Damon Harrison Sr.
Snacks hasn’t quite been himself this year, but hopefully a bye week has given him an opportunity to reset.
Unlike years past, stopping the Packers’ rushing attack will be key to victory. Aaron Jones is a rare talent, and while much of his success is on the edges, Snacks has the ability to lift everyone around him. If he can occupy a mediocre Packers interior offensive line, it can free up linebackers and edge defenders to win their matchups on the outside.
Last week, Jones was responsible for 182 of the Packers’ 335 total yards of offense. Stop him, and you stop the Packers offense—especially if Davante Adams is out.
Stafford has had an excellent start to the season, but Monday will present his biggest challenge yet. The Packers secondary will only give him small windows, and Green Bay’s defensive front will be sure to make him uncomfortable at times. We know Stafford can drop dimes, but the biggest key for the Lions franchise quarterback is to avoid turnovers.
Dak Prescott failed at that last week, and we saw what happened. Stafford will need to make plays with his feet while somehow simultaneously not trying to do too much. It’s a tough balance for a player as competitive as Stafford, but he needs to bring his A game more than anyone else on Monday.
Taylor Decker/Rick Wagner
To make Stafford’s job as easy as possible, they’ll need some stellar work from their offensive tackles. We’ve seen Detroit neutralize the likes of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, but we’ve also seen them get worked by Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs.
Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are on a tear in Green Bay and will give Decker and Wagner all they can handle.
The Lions like to use Davis in a ton of different ways, and each one will be crucial on Monday. He may be used as a spy, which will be key to keep Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. He’ll likely be asked to make sure Aaron Jones doesn’t break free into the secondary, one of the biggest keys to the game. And, at times, he’ll likely have to play in coverage, whether it’s against the aforementioned Jones or lined up against Jimmy Graham. With the Packers lacking great receivers, Rodgers could be looking more at tight ends and backs, which means leaning more on linebackers and safeties in coverage.
If all the proclamations that Golladay is a real No. 1 receiver are true, then this is the kind of week Golladay needs to prove he can win. Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander is a stud, and if Golladay wants to be in the conversation in the top 10 receivers in the league, he needs to do what Amari Cooper did to Alexander last week.
Of course, the Lions have enough weapons where they could look elsewhere and avoid this matchup entirely, but if Detroit finds themselves down late in the game, they will need Golladay to be their go-to guy. Golladay also leads the Lions in red zone targets, so he will play a big factor in whether the Lions settle for three or six on Monday.